Trump announces new rules to limit migrant asylum claims

Trump administration blocks asylum claims by those crossing border illegally

Trump administration takes step to tighten asylum system

Immigrant advocates denounced the administration's move as unlawful, and said the plan to funnel migrants to ports of entry was just a way to cut asylum claims overall.

A group of Central American migrants, representing the thousands participating in a caravan trying to reach the USA border, undertake an hours-long march to the office of the United Nations' humans rights body in Mexico City, Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018.

The new changes were likely to be met with legal challenges, too.

Immigrant advocates have denounced the move, saying it violated existing U.S. law that allows people fleeing persecution and violence in their home countries to apply for asylum regardless of whether they enter illegally or not.

The regulations released, in conjunction with an order expected to be signed by President Donald Trump, would effectively ban migrants who cross the United States border with Mexico illegally from qualifying for asylum. "It is illegal to circumvent that by agency or presidential decree", Omar Jadwat, director of the ACLU's Immigrants' Rights Project, responded in in a statement.

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The order would force migrants seeking to apply for asylum to do so only at ports of entry, and not after stepping onto USA soil illegally.

Two senior administration officials that spoke to NBC News said that "of the [immigration] measures most likely to be approved by the president, all were likely to lead to a lawsuit".

Administration officials argue the asylum system is abused by people who are not seeking security in the USA but are instead searching for economic opportunity or trying to reunite with family members.

The rule 'would bar such aliens from eligibility for asylum and thereby channel inadmissible aliens to ports of entry, where they would be processed in a controlled, orderly, and lawful manner'.

In 2018, border patrols registered more than 400,000 illegal border crossers, homeland security said.

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The announcement was the latest push to enforce Trump's hard-line stance on immigration through regulatory changes and presidential orders, bypassing Congress.

Curbing immigration has been a signature issue for Trump, who pushed it hard in the days leading up to Tuesday's midterm elections, railing against the caravans that are still hundreds of miles from the border. More than 7,000 active duty troops could eventually be deployed, Defense Department officials said.

Trump also suggested he'd revoke the right to citizenship for babies born to non-U.S. citizens on American soil and erect massive "tent cities" to detain migrants.

This is expected to put a dent in those streaming into an already overburdened system, officials said, noting that there is a backlog of more than 700,000 cases in the immigration courts.

In 2017, the US fielded more than 330,000 asylum claims, almost double the number two years earlier and surpassing Germany as highest in the world.

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